Methodology

Methodology for the application of Life Cycle Engineering

Sustainable development extends to the ecological, economic, and socioeconomic aspects of a product throughout its life cycle. The method of Life Cycle Engineering links the fundamental concept of sustainability with recognized engineering tools, such as Life Cycle Assessments on the basis of national and international standards (e.g. ISO 14040, 14044, 14025).

Companies, product developers, and researchers use this method to enhance the environmental performance of their products, lower costs, and optimize their processes. The Working Group on Energy and Mobility addresses these issues objectively, comprehensively, transparently, and with appropriate farsightedness. Life Cycle Engineering analyzes and characterizes products over their entire value-added chain, as well as the product life cycle – from the extraction of raw materials, production, and use, up to recycling – while taking into account technological, ecological, economic, and social aspects. This system analysis and product characterization serves as the basis for deriving measures for the implementation and application of the individual products.

The system analysis and product characterization encompass several progressive steps:

   

I.

 

 

Technical characterization and analysis of the product system

Determination and definition of the key technical characteristics: the sequence of the process, and process parameters such as energy requirements, materials, and temperatures

II.

 

Mass and energy flow models (Life Cycle Inventory)

Transparent presentation and interconnection of material and energy usage in the value-added chain

III.

Life Cycle Assessment – LCA (ecological impact)

IV.

Determination of Life Cycle Costs – LCC (economic criteria)

V.

 

 

 

Identification of social aspects (job-related social characteristics)

On the basis of the mass and energy flow models, calculation of the resulting

  • ecological impact such as resource efficiency, contribution to the greenhouse effect etc.
  • process and life cycle costs
  • job-related social factors

 

These steps, which build on each other, allow statements to be made about the strengths and weaknesses of the system under analysis. At the same time, however, ecological and economic comparisons of various energy and material alternatives (production and end of life) and of systems or technologies over the entire life cycle (production, use, and end of life) can be carried out.

Depending on the degree of detail of the system analysis and product characterization, the results can among other things help orientate marketing strategy, for example on the basis of possible contributions to ecological innovations or a reduction of environmental burden. Likewise, the results can generate management decisions or serve as a basis for drawing up Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for individual products in accordance with the guidelines of Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. IBU, THE INTERNATIONAL EPD SYSTEM etc.

The fields of application mentioned provide only a small insight into the opportunities opened up by the Life Cycle Engineering and analysis of products, processes, and services over the entire life cycle that we carry our within our department.

We would be pleased to draw up customized solutions with you in answer to your specific questions. Please contact us, and we will together find the most suitable concept for you – from technical characterization up to the implementation of comprehensive Life Cycle Engineering.